Romulus, Remus and Roman expansion Event as iCalendar

(Classics and Ancient History, School of Humanities)

21 March 2017


Venue: Room 429, HSB (201-429)

Dr Jeremy Armstrong | Classics and Ancient History

The evidence for the myth of Romulus and Remus in early Rome is incredibly problematic. The famous statue group set up by the Ogulnii at the ficus ruminalis demonstrates that the myth was extant in Rome by the start of the third century BC but, with the (admittedly contested) redating of the 'Capitoline Wolf' to the early medieval period, evidence for the myth in the fourth, fifth, or sixth centuries BC is extremely thin on the ground. Indeed, this scarcity prompted Wiseman to famously argue for a fourth century origin for the Roman iteration of the myth, largely constructed against the backdrop of the ending of the ‘Struggle of the Orders’.

The present paper will generally follow Wiseman’s dating of the origins of the Roman version of the myth to the fourth century, but explore the wider context of its creation in Rome’s nascent empire. While the ‘Struggle of the Orders’ may have provided one relational dynamic for the myth to exploit and explain, Rome’s relationship with the Latins provided another – and arguably more complete – point of reference. Emphasizing the wider currency and appeal of the myth in the fourth century BC, as well its deployment in Roman foreign relations in the period, this paper will argue that the (re)creation or evolution of the myth of Romulus and Remus can also be seen as an important part of Rome’s renegotiation of identity within Latium during this period.


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